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Using design thinking to support value-based leadership for sustainable quality development
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Quality Management and Mechanical Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8731-8040
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Quality Management and Mechanical Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5610-2944
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Quality Management and Mechanical Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7621-2649
2018 (English)In: Business Process Management Journal, ISSN 1463-7154, E-ISSN 1758-4116, Vol. 24, no 6, p. 1289-1301Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present findings from a study of value-based leadership in which design thinking was used as a participatory, iterative process to examine and stimulate changes in organizational culture and develop value-based leadership in Swedish manufacturing. Of particular interest to the authors was to make visible and understand the constraints in leadership that kept leaders from understanding and working with organizational culture and values.

Design/methodology/approach

A three-year multi-site case study was conducted in collaboration with three manufacturing companies in Sweden. The study design was based on a collaborative, iterative model using the Stanford Design thinking framework in which data were collected through a series of workshops using a variety of sources including: leadership survey; interviews with three general directors; focus groups with middle- and top-level managers; observations and cultural analysis, survey; storytelling and appreciative inquiry (AI); and an employee questionnaire. Respondents in the study represented leadership teams in three Swedish manufacturing companies and their employees.

Findings

In general, there is a lack of dialogue among leaders about what is leadership, what is culture and what is meant by values in the organization. As well, there is a heavy emphasis on structure and process, yet, at the same time, there lacks a clear understanding about why the structures exist and how they can be used to spawn innovation. Moreover, participating leaders in manufacturing succumb to a crisis leadership model that results from the heavy emphasis on productivity and bottom-line effectiveness. Design thinking and the methods used to develop work culture, including AI, storytelling and coaching, provided leaders with new insights into the culture within the company. Leaders were able to identify both constraints and possibilities for changing the culture from disengagement to engagement. Through the process, they also began to identify values and recognized the importance of valuing employees to affect innovation and build a culture of engagement. The authors also witnessed increased dialogue among leaders that reflected an understanding of the importance to engage middle managers and employees in problem solving and innovation.

Originality/value

This study demonstrates that leaders can benefit from innovative approaches to identifying and building work culture to achieve value-based leadership.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 24, no 6, p. 1289-1301
Keywords [en]
quality leadership
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-34315DOI: 10.1108/BPMJ-02-2018-0045ISI: 000447007200002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85049108543OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-34315DiVA, id: diva2:1243212
Projects
Simply Lean
Funder
Knowledge FoundationAvailable from: 2018-08-30 Created: 2018-08-30 Last updated: 2019-03-27Bibliographically approved

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Snyder, KristenIngelsson, PernillaBäckström, Ingela

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